Thursday 29 September 2016

Scoliosis sufferer Gillian (20) on Miss Ireland goal: 'I made a promise to myself to get out of my comfort zone'

Published 28/08/2015 | 10:38

Miss Cork Gillian Forde
Miss Cork Gillian Forde
(Left to right) Nicola Kellen, Aoife O'Sullivan, Demi O'Hara,Gillian Forde and Natasha McFadden pictured when the finalists in this years Miss Ireland 2015
Miss Cork Gillian Forde pictured at the launch of the 68th Miss Ireland 2015 in association with Crown Brush at Bucks Townhouse
The finalists in this year's Miss Ireland 2015 were unveiled at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry Dublin

A Miss Ireland contestant says she won't let her scoliosis diagnosis prevent her from giving her all in the competition.

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Miss Cork Gillian Forde (20) was diagnosed with the spinal curvature condition seven years ago and said she has successfully adjusted her lifestyle in the intervening years.

“I was really into dancing – ballet, jazz and modern from a young age. I started when I was five but I had to give all that up,” she told Independent.ie.

Read more: Competition heats up ahead of Miss Ireland final tonight

Miss Cork Gillian Forde pictured at the launch of the 68th Miss Ireland 2015 in association with Crown Brush at Bucks Townhouse
Miss Cork Gillian Forde pictured at the launch of the 68th Miss Ireland 2015 in association with Crown Brush at Bucks Townhouse

“I shot up about four inches in a year and my back was hunched a bit. My mom was actually doing tan on my back and she noticed my spine was curved.

“Since then, I’ve had muscle spasms and bulging discs pretty regularly. The pain is constant – I’m never not sore, but I manage it. It doesn’t interfere with my lfie.

“It hasn’t slowed anything down. I do a lot of swimming and pilates.”

Gillian, who is a third year commerce student at University College Cork, said she still feels self-conscious sometimes, but now she “knows how to pose”.

(Left to right) Nicola Kellen, Aoife O'Sullivan, Demi O'Hara,Gillian Forde and Natasha McFadden pictured when the finalists in this years Miss Ireland 2015
(Left to right) Nicola Kellen, Aoife O'Sullivan, Demi O'Hara,Gillian Forde and Natasha McFadden pictured when the finalists in this years Miss Ireland 2015

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“I’m a little lop sided, I lean more to the right, but no one else even notices until I point it out,” she said.

“I’m a bit self-conscious about it, but I know how to pose and not to wear.”

In fact it was her lack of self-confidence that urged her to get out of her comfort zone and try something new that motivated her Miss Ireland efforts.

The finalists in this year's Miss Ireland 2015 were unveiled at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry Dublin
The finalists in this year's Miss Ireland 2015 were unveiled at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry Dublin

“I was the most self-conscious girl in the entire world and a year ago I made a promise to myself to get out of my comfort zone,” she explained.

“I entered a modelling competition at my university, UCC's Next Top Model because I’ve always hated having my photo taken and I came first runner up.

“Then I mustered up the courage to go for Miss Cork. I have a lot more self-confidence now and I trust my opinion a bit more."

Miss Ireland takes place tonight at the Crowne Plaxa Hotel in Santry, North Dublin.

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